Name: Leonard Robert Cleavelin
Nickname: Len. Have also been known to answer to "Hey, you!" on more occasions that I want to admit.
Astrological sign: Cancer
Age: 47 on 7/9/2004
Height: 5'11" (maybe 5'10.5"; I'm rounding up to the nearest inch. So there.)
Weight: According to my doctor, about 50-70 pounds overweight.
Occupation: Professional computer geek for An Institution of Higher Education in Memphis, TN. This is a second career; I was a failed lawyer in my first career.
Birthplace: Richmond Heights, Missouri. If that makes you go, "Hunh?", just say St. Louis; that's close enough to get the general idea.
Marital status: Divorced. Twice. Resisting the temptation to start looking for the third ex-Mrs. Len Cleavelin
How many children: One daughter in St. Louis, MO; she lives with her mom, who's the first ex-Mrs. Len Cleavelin. The second ex- and I remained childless by choice. No others that I'm aware of, though I suppose anything's possible.
Do you drink (alcohol): Not nearly as much as I'd like.
Do you smoke: Not anymore. Used to smoke a pipe from roughly age 18-32 or so. As the old saying goes, "A pipe gives the wise man time to think, and the fool something to put in his mouth." I'll let you figure out why I smoked it.
Favorite outdoor activities: Fishing (though it's been literally years since I've been fishing). Watching baseball (I have empirically proven that a hot dog and beer taste better at the ballpark than they taste anywhere else). Walking the dog.
Favorite indoor activities: Watching movies. Computer games.
Favorite color: Blue.
Favorite types of music: Electronic/techno. Classic rock. Jazz. Classical.
Favorite musical groups/performers: Kraftwerk (The two best concerts I've ever attended were the Kraftwerk shows at the Riviera Theater in Chicago in June of 2005 and June of 1998). Meat Loaf. Billy Joel. Harry Chapin. The Beatles.
Favorite song at the moment: "Vitamin", from Kraftwerk's latest CD, Tour de France Soundtracks
What's in your home CD/Casette player right now: Kraftwerk, Minimum-Maximum.
What's in you car CD/Casette player right now: Alas, the car stereo hasn't worked in over two years now. Keep meaning to get it fixed, and Real Life™ keeps interfering.
Do you play an instrument: Nope, and that's one of the biggest regrets in my life. If I could learn to play an instrument it'd probably be a harpsichord (of course, that means learning the keyboard, so that once I got that down then piano, organ, etc., wouldn't be that big a reach).
What kind of guitar do you play: Can you read? See above...
Have you ever gone skinny-dipping: Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away...
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up: That kept changing. Like every boy who was raised Catholic, I went through my stage of wanting to be a priest (though interestingly enough, I never got around to being an altar boy). Have also wanted to be a pilot (at one time I wanted to join the Air Force and fly bombers; it's interesting to think that had I kept with that goal I might have been able to fly the B-52, which I wanted to fly back when I was in grade school; and keep in mind that at that time the B-52 was well over 10 years old, and technically considered obsolete...), a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a parapsychologist. In high school, I settled down and decided I wanted to be a philosopher (that is, teach philosophy at the college level), and the only thing that prevented me from doing that was the fact that when I was graduating with my A.B. in philosophy there were practically no jobs to speak of for philosophers. I therefore made the biggest mistake of my life, and wasted about $50,000 (which loans I am still paying off) and over 13 years of my life as a law student and lawyer. And the less said about that, the better.
What would be your dream job now: A professorship of philosophy somewhere. I still have never completely lost that dream, though I know it'll never happen.
Have you ever been convicted of a crime: Not even arrested. I really should have tried harder when I was young.
Places you'd most like to visit: Of places I've never been yet, England (especially to do a "Sherlock Holmes" tour of London) and Germany (a Grand Tour of Europe would be even better), Australia. Of places I have been before, I want to revisit the Philippines, Hong Kong and Toronto.
Your first car: 1969 Volkswagen Beetle. Not only my first car, but still my favorite.
Dream car: A Volkswagen Corrado. Preferably one of the later models (the earlier ones were a bit underpowered compared to the later ones).
Car you Drive now: 1999 Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg Edition. Nice trim package.
Favorite season: Summer
Favorite holiday: Don't really have a favorite. Any day away from the office is better than any day there.
Favorite hobbies: Avid reading. Computer games. Movies.
Favorite sport to play: I play no sports. At all.
Favorite sport to watch: Baseball. Not only is it my favorite sport to watch, it's the only sport I watch.
Least favorite sport to watch: Any sport that's not baseball; I detest all other sports equally.
Most humiliating moment: I can't think of one, no doubt because there are so many such moments in my life that it's difficult to single out a single one.
Do you have any siblings: A younger brother. He and I are so different from each other that I've often found it difficult to believe that he and I share the same parents.
Do you get along with your parents: As well as I get along with anyone.
Favorite place to chill: At home. Honorable mention is Sunday morning at Cafe Francisco, Memphis. Eating an excellent breakfast (well, for me it always becomes an excellent breakfast and an excellent lunch as well) while surfing the 'net or catching up on my email and putting on a caffeine buzz; I can't think of any better way to spend the morning/early afternoon.
Favorite place to visit: Toronto, even though I've only visited once. I desperately need to get back there sometime.
What is your bad time of day: Mornings.
What is your good time of day: Evenings; from about 5:00 PM on.
Favorite flower/plant: Cacti. They are survivors. I once had a small, ball shaped cactus that I named "Spiny Norman."
Favorite subject in school: Grade school: science. High school: Sciences (bio and chem), English, history. College: astronomy, philosophy, history, anthropology.
Least favorite subject in school: All levels: Mathematics, which is a shame because now that I'm out of school I realize that there's quite a few mathematical concepts that are relevant to various philosophical problems.
Favorite authors: Mark Twain, Walter Kaufmann, Bertrand Russell, Martin Gardner.
Favorite book genre: Philosophical works.
Favorite book: Critique of Religion and Philosophy, by Walter Kaufmann. First read it before entering college; I manage to re-read it every several years.
Current book I'm reading: Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe series. I've finished Books I and II recently, and I'm working on Book III right now. And when I finish that, I'm only up to the Rennaissance. So much history, so little time.
Favorite magazine: Magazine? What's that? If it's not on the Web, I'll probably only read it in the doctor's office.
Favorite movie of all time: Citizen Kane. First and foremost; no other movie even comes close for me.
Other favorite movies: Really too numerous to list in any detail, and my tastes tend to change. That being said, I'll name a few of my favorites, but keep in mind that this list is hardly exhaustive (and not in any particular order): Dr. Strangelove, Patton, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python's Life of Brian, Galaxy Quest, Top Secret, Hot Shots!, What's Up Tiger Lily? (check out the IMDB link if that one doesn't ring a bell; one of Woody Allen's first and all time best, IMHO), MASH, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Bull Durham, Spider-Man/Spider-Man 2, Army of Darkness, Bubba Ho-Tep, Pulp Fiction, Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi (the original cuts preferred over Lucas's new "enhanced editions"), X-Men/X2: X-Men United, The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers (the 1973-74 Richard Lester films), Stripes, The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Animal House, Dogma, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension.
Current guilty pleasure: Hey! Spring of Trivia, though Most Extreme Elimination Challenge is still a favorite. Right you are, Ken!
Favorite actors: George C. Scott, John Cleese, Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, John Candy, Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, Bruce Campbell, Samuel L. Jackson, Sir Alec Guiness, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Linda Fiorentino. Probably a few others I'm neglecting to mention through the vagaries of memory.
Favorite cartoon characters: Just as Chuck Jones observed about all of us, Bugs Bunny is the character I'd most like to be, but Daffy Duck is the character I most fear I am.
Favorite food: Varies with mood and what's available. I'm most fond of Italian cuisine, the national cuisine of St. Louis (lasagna is probably my favorite Italian dish), Indian cuisine, and barbecue (hey, I'm living in Memphis; what do you expect?).
Chocolate or Vanilla: In the abstract, chocolate. If we're talking about ice cream, I prefer coffee, unless I'm going for a sundae, in which case it's vanilla (with chocolate syrup, of course).
Favorite alcoholic drink: Beer. Preferably a micro- or craft brew. Or foreign import.
What is your bedtime: Sometime between 10 PM and midnight. I probably should push it towards midnight; I tend to get between 4-6 hours of sleep a night, and if I'm in bed by 10 I'm often up by 2-3 AM.
Worst enemies: I'm probably my own worst enemy. Me...or God. (I know; I stole that answer from Big Stupid Tommy but it fits. Tommy can sue me if he wants; the rest of you shut the #@$& up.)
Interesting fact about your childhood: I scared the shit out of my kindergarten teacher by teaching myself to read, and then wandering up to the bulletin board in the classroom and reading aloud the text of the "Hail Mary" that was posted there (with pictures, of course).
The first thing you think of in the morning: Workday: "Oh shit!" Holiday or weekend: "The world doesn't really need my conscious presence, does it?"
Favorite thing to do when you're home alone: The 'net. Watch DVDs or tapes. Read. During summertime, listen to a baseball game. Thanks to the magic of XM Satellite Radio, I've gotten to hear Mike "Moonman" Shannon call a lot of Cardinals games this summer. it's not living in St. Louis, but it may be the next best thing.
Things that make you feel good: Having a recipe turn out right (hey, I'm getting into cooking in my old age).
Things you don't like: Dishes. Laundry. The designated hitter rule. George aWol Bush. Christians who whine that Christians are "persecuted" by "secular humanists". People who assume I have a religion just because they think everyone has to have one.
Worst feeling in the world: Suddenly waking up to remember that I didn't do something important that day that simply had to be done that day.
Scariest feeling in the world: See above.
Best feeling in the world: Knowing that no matter how big a shit I've been that day, my dog still loves me. (Still true even though my dog, alas, is no longer with me.)
Do you get motion sickness: Not in a long time.
Roller Coasters - Deadly or Exciting: Exciting.
Thunderstorms - Cool or Scary: Cool. Then again, my feeling is that a thunderstorm is the perfect excuse to cuddle naked with someone you like a lot....
Pen or Pencil: Fountain Pen (though I've never given in to the temptation to buy a Mont Blanc; I fail to see the logic in writing with a pen that's worth more than my car).
Do you like to drive: Yes, but I drive a Volkswagen. Remember their motto: Drivers wanted.
Do you sleep with stuffed animals: No.
Did you have imaginary friends or a blanket as a child: Mom claimed when I was a toddler I had an imaginary invisible alligator friend. My position is that she only thought he was imaginary because he was invisible.
What is on the walls of your room: Nothing at all. There are some things I could put on the wall from the old house (a couple historic posters of Volkswagens through history; an interesting "coast to coast" montage of U.S. landmarks; my "Harpooner of the Year" citation from the Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn) that I need to retrieve and put up here.
What words or phrases do you overuse: George Carlin's seven words you can't say on TV, for starters. There are a few others, but I tend to go through cycles of favorite phrases I overuse for a period, then move on to the next.
Coolest things anyone ever gave you: My best buddy gave me a one year gift membership to the Missouri Historical Society once upon a time.
How would you characterize your political leanings: Liberal/progressive.
If you could pick one super-human power, what would you choose: Mind control. Of a specific type that I'm not going to describe in any more detail.
Favorite Quotes/Lyrics/Poems: Hanlon's Razor: Never ascribe to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity.
It's like I've always said, there's nothing an agnostic can't do if he really doesn't know whether he believes in anything or not. (from a Monty Python sketch)
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
I don't accept the currently
fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as
any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone
says to me "Well, you haven't been there, have you? You haven't seen it
for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally
valid" - then I can't even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing
as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition
of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation
we'd got, and we've now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation
of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable
amount of explaining. So I don't think that being convinced that there is no
god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I
don't think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.
--Douglas Adams [on his atheism]
Nothing defines humans better
than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally
unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion.
It's hard to have a righteous
opinion on the environment when you're as selfish and uninformed as I am. On
one hand, I'm a cat-loving vegetarian who ought to care deeply about the caribou
or koala bears or bats or whatever they have in Alaska. On the other hand, I
live in California so I'd be willing to squeeze schoolchildren to death if I
thought some oil would come out.
If you have trouble sounding
condescending, find a Unix user to show you how it's done.
Robber Baron: I understand
you're a lawyer, Mr. County.
Brisco County, Jr.: Not anymore. Tried it, didn't like it.
Second Robber Baron: Seems like a shameful waste of seven years.
Brisco County, Jr.: Better than a shameful waste of a lifetime.
--"The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." [series pilot]
When it comes to fighting
vampires and performing exorcisms, the Roman Catholic Church has the heavy artillery.
Your other religions are good for everyday theological tasks, like steering
their members into heaven, but when the undead lunge up out of their graves,
you want a priest on the case. As a product of Catholic schools, I take a certain
pride in this pre-eminence.
--Roger Ebert [on the movie "John Carpenter's Vampires"]
I read somewhere that 77
percent of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I'm more intrigued
by the 23 percent who are apparently doing quite well for themselves.